Updated: Feb 19, 2020
My two favorite books for cheesemaking are The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher, and Mastering Basic Cheesemaking: The Fun and Fundamentals of Making Cheese at Home by Gianaclis Caldwell.
There is nothing like your first taste of your very own cottage cheese or cheddar that makes you realize that nothing you have bought in the store ever compared to this. And there is the satisfaction of sinking your teeth into your own work.
To this day, I still use both Caldwell’s and Asher’s books as I make my cheese. I mix and match between the recipes for most of my cheeses because there are slight variations in methods and I blend the two. My copies are stained with milk and whey drops and all the pages are ruffled with use.
For your first cheesemaking experience, I recommend making David Asher’s dream cheese. You literally take however much fresh raw milk you want to make into cheese and leave it sitting on the counter. Make sure you put it into a glass jar so you can watch the magic happen. The natural cheesemaking process needs nothing added to it in the form of cultures (although I did use them when I was first learning), because raw milk itself has everything that it needs to provide its own cultures for cheese making. You will need the cultures if you use milk from the store.
All you are waiting for your first foray into cheesemaking is for that glorious raw milk to clabber and separate itself into clabber and whey. This can take anywhere from 1-2 days depending on how warm it is. After this, put a colander lined with cheese cloth over a pot and strain out the whey. You’ll have a soft, tart first cheese and you will have done literally almost nothing.
A good rule of thumb is that every gallon of milk will produce 1 pound of good cheese. There’s variations to this rule, but that will give you a good gauge. Imagine my shock when I figured up that if my very large 18 member family was making all of the cottage cheese we were eating, we would need 20 GALLONS of milk to make that much! We began switching out some recipes because my goal is to never buy dairy again. God provided us with cows, and I would rather see my children’s eyes light up with a taste of the real thing instead of what they sell in the store.
There’s nothing like homemade cheese and dairy products.
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